Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 8°C


Gallery: Mendlesham man produces award-winning film The Patrol about Afghanistan war

09:31 13 January 2014

James Cutting from Mendlesham who was involved in the making of 'The Patrol' - a movie about the war in Afghanistan which won the Best Film at the Raindance Film Festival.

James Cutting from Mendlesham who was involved in the making of 'The Patrol' - a movie about the war in Afghanistan which won the Best Film at the Raindance Film Festival.

A Suffolk man is eagerly anticipating the general release of an award-winning war movie which he helped to produce.

Video footage of filming 'The Patrol' in Afganistan
 - a movie about the war in Afghanistan which won the Best Film at the Raindance Film FestivalVideo footage of filming 'The Patrol' in Afganistan - a movie about the war in Afghanistan which won the Best Film at the Raindance Film Festival

James Cutting from Mendlesham started out as location scout for ‘The Patrol’, a gritty depiction of British involvement in the war in Afghanistan which has already been lauded by critics.

However by the time filming had finished he had became associate producer.

The former pupil of St Joseph’s College was approached by the film’s director Tom Petch to find a location for the film set in Morocco, where James now lives.

Although Mr Petch, himself a former soldier, had initially wanted to film in Spain, James managed to find the perfect location just 40 miles from Marrakech.

James, 45, first moved to Morocco in 2001, shortly after qualifying as a barrister. He had fallen in love with the country after holidaying there the year before.

“I got fed up with the greyness of England and the politics,” said James.

“Morocco is such a free sort of country; life is more in your own hands. If you’re and idiot and you want to drive into the Sahara there’s nobody there to tell you that you can’t. You’d be an idiot but you could do it. It’s just freer.”

James was no stranger to Africa even then, having done relief work in places like Benin, Togo and South Africa.

In Morocco James made a living by taking people on trips into desert sand dunes in a 4x4, before bumping into the head of transport for the movie ‘Alexander’ in a Marrakech bar.

The movie was being filmed in Morocco at the time, and James was asked to be a driver for the production team before being seconded to the director’s team and finally working on locations.

Since then James has worked as a location manager for ‘Kingdom of Heaven’, as well as working on other blockbusters such as ‘Babel’, ‘Rendition’, ‘Greenzone’, ‘Body of Lies’ and ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’.

He’s also worked on television shows for channels like the BBC and MTV.

It was a friend who brought James and Mr Petch together. Recalling taking the director on his first trip to the location James said they reached a patch of stony desert which was “perfect for Afghanistan”.

What sealed the deal was the discovery of an abandoned village, “We came across the village which had been abandoned just a few years before when the well dried up.

“I approached the mayor of the region and offered some money in return for being able to use the site.”

Part of the agreement which allowed filming to take place at the location was that the producers would employ local people. “By the time we left the area the school had new books and a new water tower had been put up,” said James.

“In that area there is no industry, all the farming is done for themselves and whatever is left over goes out. That area is pretty much barren.”

The movie was filmed in August, the hottest month in Morocco when temperatures reach 55 degrees Celsius, creating a gruelling experience for the actors and an authentic fatigue which is captured on film.

‘The Patrol’ has already picked up Film of the Festival at the Raindance Film Festival.

It follows a group of diverse British soldiers who are united by their hatred of their standard issue rifle, the SA80, and their frustration at their vehicles, the WMIKs.

The troops are sent to protect a town in Helmand during the height of the insurgency there. When one of their vehicles is hit by an IED they become stranded and surrounded by Taliban.

Much of the movie is devoted to the interaction between the men and their perceptions of the war in which they’re fighting.

“Throughout lies the questions of ‘what good are we doing here?’” said James.

“It doesn’t question the bravery or the loyalty of the troops, not at all. It questions the government.”

It will be released on February 7.

1 comment

  • Sounds a bit left-wing to me. Why don't they make stirring British war films any more? You don't have to agree with a war to make good films about it.

    Report this comment


    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Arthur Ransome’s tales of boats and adventure - many of which were set in Suffolk - changed the course of children’s literature.

A disqualified motorist banned for a drink-drive related offence was caught driving again while nearly four-and-a-half times the limit within two hours of his conviction.

Hundreds of youngsters braved the cold October temperatures to celebrate all things autumn at the Holywells Park Apple Day.

A Suffolk-based charity auction which has attracted bids from all over the world and raised more than £870,000 since its inception is aiming to break the £1million mark for national and local charities this year.

Fight or flight is fascinating, writes Ellen Widdup.

The A12 is now running smoothly after severe traffic delays earlier at Feering, Essex, caused by a two-car crash.

Some stores display a polite notice next to initial merchandise asking shoppers not to rearrange the items to create rude words.

Suffolk police officers have been called to a clown sighting in Haughley, near Stowmarket this afternoon.

Detectives have said they have not given up in their quest to find the body of alleged Suffolk double murder victim Sylvia Stuart.

Although I’m a fan of the show Spamalot - I went to see the touring production at the Regent five years ago - I have to admit I only wanted to see the Company of Four’s version as my cousin Jo is in it (very good as a sweary minstrel, I have to say!)

Most read

Most commented


Show Job Lists

Topic pages


Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24